A Hillsboro man sued the company last week, to protest an earlier decision not to sell to people under age 21.

Supermarket chain Fred Meyer has announced it will stop selling guns and ammunition at its stores.

The Portland-based company made the announcement Friday, March 16, saying dropping sales numbers over the past few years have caused the company to rethink stocking firearms or ammunition.

"Fred Meyer has made a business decision to exit the firearms category," the company said. "We are currently working on plans to responsibly phase out sales of firearms and ammunition."

Owned by Kroger Co., Fred Meyer operates stores in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

The news comes a week after a 20-year-old Hillsboro man filed a lawsuit against the company demanding it sell him ammunition. After the Feb. 14 shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead, Fred Meyer said it would stop selling firearms to anyone under the age of 21.

Airion Grace filed a lawsuit against Fred Meyer's parent company, Kroger, on March 9 in Washington County Circuit Court. Grace said a Hillsboro Fred Meyer, 6495 S.E. Tualatin Valley Highway, refused to sell him shotgun ammunition because of his age.

Grace is also suing Bi-Mart for a similar incident. Both stores have stopped selling guns or ammunition to people under 21.

"We believe Oregon law is clear, and that under state law, no retailer can discriminate based on age," Grace's attorney Kristian Roggendorf said last week. "If the Oregon legislature wants to change the law, it can do so but it has not, and the stores' decisions flat-out discriminate against our client."

In its release Friday, the company did not give a timeline for when stores would stop selling firearms.

Gun sales account for about $7 million of Fred Meyer's annual revenue, the company said, but sales have been declining.

"We made the decision early last week after evaluating changing customer preferences and the fact that we've been steadily reducing this category in our Fred Meyer stores over the last several years due to softening consumer demand," the company said. "More recently we have been transitioning away from gun departments as a result of our ongoing work to optimize space in our Fred Meyer stores."

News partner Oregon Public Broadcasting contributed to this report.

By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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